Background: The outcome of total knee replacement after high tibial osteotomy remains uncertain. We hypothesized that the results of total knee replacement with or without a previous high tibial osteotomy are similar.
Methods: The results of a consecutive series of thirty-nine bilateral total knee arthroplasties performed with cement at an average of 8.7 years after unilateral high tibial osteotomy were reviewed. There were twenty-seven men and twelve women. Preoperatively, the knee scores according to the system of the Knee Society were similar for all of the knees; however, valgus alignment and patella infera were more common in the knees with a previous high tibial osteotomy. Bilateral total knee replacement was staged in seven patients and was simultaneous in thirty-two patients. The results of the total knee arthroplasties were retrospectively reviewed with respect to the knee and function scores according to the system of the Knee Society, the radiographic findings, and the complications.
Results: Intraoperatively, no notable differences were identified in the number of medial, lateral, or lateral patellar releases required. However, less lateral tibial bone was resected in the group with a previous high tibial osteotomy (average, 3.3 millimeters) than in the group without a high tibial osteotomy (average, 7.5 millimeters). The average duration of follow-up was 7.5 years (range, three to sixteen years) in the group with a previous high tibial osteotomy and 6.8 years (range, two to ten years) in the group without a high tibial osteotomy. At the time of the final follow-up, the knee and function scores were similar for the two groups (89.0 and 81.0 points, respectively, for the group with a previous high tibial osteotomy, and 89.6 and 83.9 points, respectively, for the group without a high tibial osteotomy). Although more knees were free of pain in the group without a previous high tibial osteotomy (thirty-six) than in the group with a previous osteotomy (thirty-three), this difference was not found to be significant with the numbers available (p = 0.4810). Knee alignment and stability, femoral and tibial component alignment, and range of motion also were similar in both groups postoperatively. One all-polyethylene tibial component was revised in the high tibial osteotomy group. Two knees in each group required manipulation. There were no deep infections.
Conclusions: While patients with a previous high tibial osteotomy may have important differences preoperatively, including valgus alignment, patella infera, and decreased bone stock in the proximal part of the tibia, the present study suggests that the clinical and radiographic results of primary total knee arthroplasty in knees with and without a previous high tibial osteotomy are not substantially different. In our relatively small group of patients, the previous high tibial osteotomy had no adverse effect on the outcome of the subsequent total knee replacement.